IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley has called on both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Community, Equality and the Gaeltacht to resolve immediately the impasse where Leader funding for up to 100 food projects by farmers and others have been held up for the past two months.
Speaking from Brussels, Tom Turley said that both Departments must move to resolve this issue as investments in projects has been stalled due to queries that have been raised by the EU Commission. These projects are vital for the rural economy and have the potential to create up to 500 jobs in rural Ireland.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said, “Many of the project promoters have already made significant investments. They have secured credit and are ready to proceed pending a resolution to the issues raised. It is not acceptable that farmers are left in limbo while available EU funding is not allowed to be drawn down.”
Mr. Turley said the Leader programme must be allowed to work for all sectors of rural society and farmers must not be excluded. Concluding, he said getting more value from natural resources including food must be a priority in the current Leader programme.